Defence, Industrial and Machinery, Manufacturing News, South Australia

America’s largest ship manufacturer to prepare SA suppliers for AUKUS

A new program with America’s largest shipbuilder HII is set to help South Australian companies enter the global supply chain for nuclear-powered submarines.

Premier Peter Malinauskas announced the new program with HII while touring HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division in the United States, where the defence giant builds Virginia Class submarines.

The agreement connects the South Australian Government to HII’s Supplier Capability Uplift Program.

This enables selected SA suppliers to participate in the nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarine supply chain.

Malinauskas said he intends to ensure suppliers in South Australia have a global head start in entering the supply chain for nuclear-powered submarines. 

“Nuclear-powered submarines are the most complex machines in the world and building these submarines requires highly technical skills and capabilities.

“Through this program, we are making a highly strategic investment that will help to open avenues and opportunities for South Australian suppliers to compete for work on the Virginia Class Submarine Program, and ultimately the AUKUS program,” Malinauskas said. 

Given the technical nature of the work to build Virginia Class submarines, participating companies will be evaluated by HII using the same requirements applied to its existing U.S. suppliers.

HII will undertake reviews of South Australian companies that provide design and engineering, equipment integration, advanced manufacturing, welding, fabrication, and quality services.

Director-General of the Australian Submarine Agency (ASA), VADM, Jonathan Mead said the Australian government welcomes the initiative who complements initiatives to “uplift the submarine industrial workforce.”

“Australian state and federal governments, working together with industry, are expanding Australia’s industrial capacity to produce and sustain nuclear-powered submarines into the future, which will also contribute to building our collective resilience,” said Mead.

On completion of the review process, participating companies will receive a tailored report outlining recommendations required to compete for work on the Virginia Class Submarine Program.

Participating SA businesses will be able to apply for matched funding to address the recommendations arising from their review report.

Information gathered through the program will further support the SA Government to enable more companies to compete for work in international supply chains. 

This means they could potentially enter the supply chain for the Virginia Class.

It is the goal of the program to have these companies positioned to enter the supply chain for the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines to be built at Osborne in Adelaide.

This follows the Malinauskas Government signing a Memorandum of Understanding with HII Nuclear Australia Pty Ltd in November last year.

The MOU made clear the shared intent of each party towards developing a skilled Australian workforce and strengthening Australia’s industry capability.

“We look forward to continuing our commitment to help address critical skills needs, education and training programs, and supply chain capability in Australia as they create the infrastructure necessary for building and sustaining nuclear-powered submarines,” said the lead of HII’s Australian business, Michael Lempke. 

The arrangement would leverage HII’s international industry expertise to prepare South Australia for the major shipbuilding projects on our horizon.

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